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2011 World Series game seven: Cardinals 6, Phillies 2

I don't know if it was the terrific September comeback, the cast of players on the field, the disrespect from other clubs including Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Texas -- or just the fact that the Cardinals seemed to deserve this championship much more than the one they won in 2006.

But, for me at least, the Redbirds' 11th title was -- by far -- the most exciting in my lifetime.

Typically, it seems like the post-season is over before you know what hit you. But the Cardinals have spent the last two months in a play-off atmosphere. What usually is a drag race seemed more like the Indy 500.

There were opportunities to crash all along the way. But the Cardinals earned this championship by overcoming every obstacle placed in their way. And the victory is that much sweeter because of it.

St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter, pitching on short rest, struggled through the first inning. He was lucky to get through it with only two runs allowed. And, for a while, it seemed he wasn't going to get through it at all.

But Redbirds offense erased the deficit in the bottom of the first when Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman drew a pair of two-out walks and then eventual World Series MVP David Freese doubled them both home to knot the game at two.

The Cardinals took the lead in the third inning when Allen Craig hit a solo homer to make the score 3-2 and the Redbirds would never give up the advantage. After his shaky start Carpenter threw five scoreless frames and he was lifted after allowing a leadoff hit in the seventh inning with the Birds ahead 5-2 thanks to a pair or insurance runs scored during a rangers pitching meltdown in the bottom of the fifth.

Texas reliever Scott Feldman entered the game and got Ryan Theriot to ground. But he walked Allen Craig and then hit Pujols with a pitch. Berkman moved the runners up to second and third with a ground out and Freese was intentionally walked to load the bases. That seemed like a sound strategy -- until Feldman unintentionally walked Yadier Molina to make the score 4-2. Texas manager Ron Washington brought in team ace C.J. Wilson from the bullpen -- and he hit Rafael Furcal with a pitch to make the score 5-2.

That's all it took. Arthur Rhodes, Octavio Dotel, Lance Lynn and Jason Mott shut the Rangers out the rest of the way and the Cardinals won their 11th World Series championship when Craig, playing left field in place of the injured Matt Holliday in left field, squeezed the final flyout to turn the Cardinals post season dreams into legend.